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Louisa shuts out Western to take command in Jefferson District title race

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The Lions imposed their will a little more Friday night as they rolled to a 27-0 victory in a battle of Jefferson District unbeatens in Crozet.

Offensively, Louisa County (7-1, 5-0 Jefferson District) rushed for 406 yards and four touchdowns to extend their district winning streak to 31 straight games. Defensively, the Lions limited the Warriors to just 89 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers.

“They’re a very good, physical, well-disciplined team,” Louisa County quarterback Landon Wilson said. “I have a lot of respect for them. We knew coming into it this was going to be a really big game for us.”

Western Albemarle (6-1, 3-1) entered the game ranked No. 1 in this week’s VHSL Region 4D power ratings with 29.33 points. The Lions were ranked sixth with 23.28 points, which helped spurn their fire in this rivalry game.

“We were going to have to prove a lot,” Wilson said. “They were undefeated. They were No. 1 in the power poll, and we’re sort of overlooked. So., we came in here on their homecoming and got a big win.”

Louisa’s defense set the tone on the first drive, coming up with a big turnover when Maleke Huntington picked off Western Albemarle quarterback Nathan Simon’s pass to at the Lions’ 32.

Louisa’s offense cashed in on the opportunity four plays later on Wilson’s 5-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead with 7:31 left in first quarter.

Western’s defense turned in a big play of its own later in the quarter when Joshua Williams made a leaping interception to give the Warriors plus field position.

Western moved the ball inside the 5, but Louisa County’s defense stiffened and Huntington made a great stop on a fourth and 3 pass to force a turnover on downs.

Louisa defensive tackle Elijah Brooks said that stop helped set the tone for the rest of the night.

“Going into this game, our coach told us this was going to be a war,” Brooks said. “Basically, who could headbutt the longest, they’ve got a lot of tough guys, a lot of physical guys, but we had to out physical them and that’s what we did today.”

The dominance continued later in the quarter when Brooks came up with a big sack on Simon with less than two minutes to play in the half to nullify the drive. Simon suffered a lower-body injury on the play and played just one more snap before sitting out the rest of the game.

Louisa County led 7-0 at halftime but had amassed nearly 250 yards of total offense in the opening two quarters.

Western Albemarle tried to make things happen in the third behind backup quarterback Joey Burch. The senior had a big punt return to give the Warriors a first and 10 from the Louisa County 35.

Western drove the ball inside the 15, but the Lions’ defense stiffened again to force a field goal attempt. Embry Pulich’s 40-yard attempt sailed wide right on the third play of the fourth quarter, giving Louisa the ball back.

Three players later, Wilson broke off a 67-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 14-0. The junior quarterback took the ball up the middle, then found a hole off the right side and rumbled down the sidelines before spinning away from three tackles inside the 10 to find the end zone for the second time in the game.

A bad snap on a punt gave Louisa the ball back at the Western 12-yard line. Louisa scored three plays later when Austin Talley dove across the goal line from five yards out to make it a 20-0 lead with 6:36 left.

Louisa put an exclamation point on the win in the final minute when Troy Fischer rumbled in from 14 yards out to make it 27-0.

Offensively, Jordan Smith rushed for 147 yards on 14 carries to lead the Lions. Wilson carried 13 times for 145 yards and a pair of scores. Mills rushed for 42 yards and Talley finished with 37 yards and a score.

Defensively, the Lions limited Western Albemarle to a season-low 48 yards on the ground.

“It was basically our front 3, shout out to Qwenton Spellman and Aiden Riley,” Brooks said. “Get at the line of scrimmage and go make a play. Clearly our linemen won that battle and then our linebackers, Stephen Dean, Sam Klapack, came in and did a great job filling [the holes].”

Louisa, which is off next week, will have a chance to savor this win for a while.

“It means a lot,” Wilson said. “At Louisa, all we want to do is win. It just feels nice.”


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